Pittman Named Offensive Line Coach

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- University of North Carolina head coach Butch Davis announced Wednesday the hiring of Sam Pittman as the Tar Heels' offensive line coach.

Pittman comes to Carolina after serving four seasons as Northern Illinois' offensive line coach (2003-06) and three years as its assistant head coach (2004-06). This season, the Huskies' offensive line paved the way for the nation's leading rusher, Garrett Wolfe, to run for more than 1,900 yards.

In four years at NIU, Pittman produced nine All-Mid-American Conference linemen, including seven first-team selections. NIU had a tailback top the 1,500-yard rushing mark all four years.

"Sam has established himself as one of the top college offensive line coaches in the country and was highly recommended by several NFL player personnel directors," says Davis. "Northern Illinois has posted several impressive performances during his tenure and has been among the nation's top 20 rushing teams over the last three years. Sam is an outstanding teacher and is an excellent addition to our staff."

"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with Butch Davis at North Carolina," says Pittman. "Carolina has everything in place to be one of the top programs in the country. I look forward to building relationships with the current student-athletes and recruiting several outstanding players to UNC. Jamie and I look forward to living in Chapel Hill."

Despite three new starters on the offensive line and two freshmen among its top six players this year, Northern Illinois finished 17th in the country in rushing, averaging more than 180 yards per game. Wolfe finished his career as NIU's all-time leading rusher and is the 11th-leading rusher in NCAA history. The Huskies' offensive line played particularly well in the 2006 season opener at No. 1 Ohio State as NIU gained 171 yards on the ground.

In 2005, the Huskies were 16th nationally in rushing, averaging 206.7 yards. That season, Northern Illinois rushed for 211 yards at Michigan and 256 at Northwestern. In 2004, NIU was 9-3, won the Silicon Valley Bowl and finished 11th in the nation in rushing (238.2 ypg).

Pittman began his second term at Northern Illinois in 2003. That year, NIU finished 10-2 and beat Maryland and Iowa State and knocked off Alabama, 19-16, in Tuscaloosa. Pittman's line blocked for Michael Turner who finished second in the nation in rushing.

Pittman first coached at Northern Illinois from 1994-95 and produced a trio of All-Big West Conference talent, including All-America center Chris O'Neal. Pittman was the offensive line coach under John Blake at Oklahoma from 1996-98 where he coached first-round draft pick Stockar McDougle. Blake recently joined the Tar Heel staff as a defensive assistant. Pittman has also worked with the offensive lines at Cincinnati (1996), Western Michigan (1999), Missouri (2000) and Kansas (2001). At Kansas, he tutored center Justin Hartwig, now a member of the NFL's Carolina Panthers.

Before NIU, Pittman produced an 11-9-1 record as head coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College from 1992-93. His 1993 team earned the school's first bowl bid n 23 years at the Valley of the Sun Bowl in Phoenix.

Pittman began his career as a student coach at Pittsburg (Kan.) State University in 1984 and 1985. He moved to Beggs (Okla.) High School as an assistant in 1986, Princeton (Mo.) High School as head coach in 1987-89 and Trenton (Mo.) High School as head coach in 1990.

At PSU, Pittman won four football letters, finished with 35 straight starts, and played in two postseason games at defensive end (1980-83). As a senior, he won first-team NAIA All-America, first-team All-Central States Intercollegiate Conference, team captain and co-MVP honors. In 1982, Pittman made first-team All-CSIC and team defensive MVP. In 1998, he was inducted into the Pittsburg State Athletics Hall of Fame and in 2004, he was voted to the school's All-Century squad.

Pittman, 45, received a bachelor's degree in education from PSU in 1986. He is married to the former Jamie Conrad of Pittsburg, Kan.

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